Setting actionable goals is usually a big part of any success strategy, whether it be in marketing, or something else. However, SMART goals go a little further, and incorporating them into your marketing plans can hugely boost performance, and the odds of getting the results you’re after!
What are SMART goals?
A SMART goal is an objective that meets five specific criteria, which are hidden within the very name. To break it down, SMART stands for the following:
So an objective that meets all five traits, by definition, is a SMART goal.
Why are SMART goals the smarter marketing approach?
Now that we’ve cleared up what SMART goals are, it’s time to answer how they can help your marketing. Are they that much more effective than simply setting a normal goal? When done well, the answer is absolutely yes.
When setting a SMART goal, you’re essentially questioning how the goal works on different levels, and how it contributes to the success of your marketing strategy. This can be useful for ensuring you’re implementing the right actions, to avoid wasting time and effort.
Here’s how to implement each of the five criteria within SMART marketing objectives:
Make sure your goal is specific, as opposed to vague or lacking in detail. It should focus on one specific area or metric, within the marketing strategy. The more focused the goal, the easier it is to establish a course of action.
Enable a way to quantify and measure the goal in question, so that you have a way of tracking progress, and completion. This will also allow you to set a strong aim, giving you something defined to work towards.
This means your objective should be realistic and achievable. You should have the ability to complete the goal, taking into account resources, skills and time. Otherwise, the goal becomes more of a long-term ‘wish’, that doesn’t play an active role in your journey to success.
For a goal to be relevant, it has to align with all the other objectives that are being used to shape and execute the marketing strategy you want to succeed in. You have to think about how the goal interacts with other targets, as well as with any other ongoing plans.
Being time-bound is, quite literally, referring to binding the goal to a specific amount of time. For a goal to be SMART, it should have a clear end date by which the objective should be achieved successfully. This helps you organise the time available and encourages you to complete each step on time so that you can start reaping the results needed.
Example of a SMART marketing goal
To help you understand how to utilise a SMART goal within marketing, let’s set an example:
To rank higher in search engines.
Breakdown by each SMART criteria
Specific – Boost brand visibility by achieving a ranking of third or higher for the target keyword ‘marketing success’. Optimise content for keyword usage increase.
Measurable – Climb five spots on the search engine results page.
Actionable – X time will be allocated to X team. It will be used to go through old content, updating and optimising with the use of the target keyword.
Relevant – A higher ranking will integrate well with the new digital PR outreach goals established for the next quarter.
Time-bound – The goal should be completed by the end of April.
Using SMART goals allows your marketing objectives to be specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. They encourage a far more detailed approach, in which you avoid wasting time and effort on something vague or unrealistic.
Implementing the five SMART criteria into your marketing goals will help set you up for success, providing you with all the self-guidance needed!